Sexual abuse is an uncomfortable topic on its face, and an even more uncomfortable topic to try and address with your own children. However, shocking cases, like the recent matter of a Charles County ex-school aide charged with 119 counts of abuse, illustrate why these conversations need to happen.
It is estimated that at least 24 kids were abused, and not one of them told a parent or trusted teacher. The matter came to light when a concerned parent was checking her child’s text messages and reported her findings to the school.
Tips for Talking with Your Children
Finding the right approach and ensuring your child feels that he or she can trust you are two of the most important factors in talking to your kids about sexual abuse. Some tips to address this difficult subject include:
- Tread lightly: Make sure your child knows that he or she can trust you and that home is a safe place to speak his or her mind.
- Start at an early age: The earlier you start the uncomfortable conversation, the more chance you have of preventing an incident, or at least giving your child the security or knowing that he or she can come talk to you if something happens.
- Observe their behavior: Watch for any changes, depression, or other signs that something might be wrong, as non-verbal cues may be telling.
- Have someone else talk to them: If there is another relative he or she trusts, have that person talk to your child, as well, because it may be an easier conversation.
- Make sure they understand that their bodies are private: Your child needs to know it is ok to say no to unwanted touching by a friend, teacher, another member of the family, or whomever.
- Help them understand parts of their bodies: They may feel more comfortable asking questions and expressing themselves if they are familiar and comfortable with their own bodies.
- Use media cases to keep it relevant: Cases like the one mentioned above provide ideal opportunities to have a talk with your kids that does not make it seem forced.
- Talk about secrets: Explain to your kids that in these cases, keeping secrets is a bad idea.
Looking for additional resources that provide an overview on how to bring up sexual abuse with your kids? For one, check out RAINN, the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, which is the country’s largest anti-sexual violence organization. RAINN has a number of related articles, including, Talking To Your Kids about Sexual Assault.
The Office for Victims of Crime is another valuable resource. Their infographic on Tips for Talking to Children about Child Abuse has a section on questions that your child may ask so you can be a little more rehearsed and not caught off guard by formulating responses in your head.
Contact a Charles County Personal Injury Attorney
Speaking with a personal injury attorney with family law experience is important if you believe your child might be the victim of sexual abuse at school or by a family member. Contact the Law Office of Robert R. Castro at (301) 705-5253 to schedule a free consultation today.